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Population, Development, and Society - Syllabus

Population, Development, and Society - Syllabus

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Published by Randall Kuhn
Population issues are the Swiss Army Knife of the foreign policy toolkit: in a pinch, they can be handy for almost any purpose. If someone utters the sad cliché “Demography is destiny”, you can be sure of three things: they know very little about the science or substance of demography, they do not really believe that demography is destiny, and they have some hidden agenda. This course will subvert the raw manipulation of demographic factoids with a critical understanding of the moderate but significant role of population in determining the fates of our planet and society. In the process, we may also gain a clearer picture of the ideology behind the clichés, and their often dreadful consequences for human well-being.
Unfortunately, these goals demand that we first build a basic understanding of the science of demography. As a methodology, demography is the study of vital events – birth, death, marriage, and migration – and their effect on the size and composition of populations. The first five weeks will cover demographic measurement and change. We will also attempt to connect the concept of population composition (particularly in terms of age) to the production, consumption, and exchange of resources and power within and between populations. In the closing weeks we will apply our demographic understanding to a range of social problems including development, environmental degradation, and conflict. Throughout the course we will explore the role of identity and solidarity in shaping our supposed demographic realities, and how even our most fixed categories are constantly being reshaped.
Population issues are the Swiss Army Knife of the foreign policy toolkit: in a pinch, they can be handy for almost any purpose. If someone utters the sad cliché “Demography is destiny”, you can be sure of three things: they know very little about the science or substance of demography, they do not really believe that demography is destiny, and they have some hidden agenda. This course will subvert the raw manipulation of demographic factoids with a critical understanding of the moderate but significant role of population in determining the fates of our planet and society. In the process, we may also gain a clearer picture of the ideology behind the clichés, and their often dreadful consequences for human well-being.
Unfortunately, these goals demand that we first build a basic understanding of the science of demography. As a methodology, demography is the study of vital events – birth, death, marriage, and migration – and their effect on the size and composition of populations. The first five weeks will cover demographic measurement and change. We will also attempt to connect the concept of population composition (particularly in terms of age) to the production, consumption, and exchange of resources and power within and between populations. In the closing weeks we will apply our demographic understanding to a range of social problems including development, environmental degradation, and conflict. Throughout the course we will explore the role of identity and solidarity in shaping our supposed demographic realities, and how even our most fixed categories are constantly being reshaped.

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Published by: Randall Kuhn on Jan 05, 2011
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POPULATION, SOCIETY, AND DEVELOPMENT INTS 4465
TUESDAY 2-5PM, BCH 220
RANDALL KUHNrkuhn@du.edu / 303.871.2061 / BCH 208D
OFFICE HOURS
TUESDAY / THURSDAY 12-2, OR BY APPOINTMENT
Objectives and Overview
Population issues are the Swiss Army Knife of the foreign policy toolkit: in a pinch, they can behandy for almost any purpose. If someone utters the sad
cliché “Demography is destiny”
 , you can be sure of three things: they know very little about the science or substance of demography, theydo not really believe that demography is destiny, and they have some hidden agenda. This coursewill subvert the raw manipulation of demographic factoids with a critical understanding of themoderate but significant role of population in determining the fates of our planet and society. Inthe process, we may also gain a clearer picture of the ideology behind the clichés, and their oftendreadful consequences for human well-being.Unfortunately, these goals demand that we first build a basic understanding of the science ofdemography. As a methodology, demography is the study of vital events
birth, death, marriage,and migration
and their effect on the size and composition of populations. The first five weekswill cover demographic measurement and change. We will also attempt to connect the concept ofpopulation composition (particularly in terms of age) to the production, consumption, andexchange of resources and power within and between populations. In the closing weeks we willapply our demographic understanding to a range of social problems including development,environmental degradation, and conflict. Throughout the course we will explore the role ofidentity and solidarity in shaping our supposed demographic realities, and how even our mostfixed categories are constantly being reshaped.
NB: I will be out of the country during Week 10. We will discuss ways to make up this time during the first class session.
Grading
Take home Final Exam (40%):
Because the class is mostly conceptual in nature, it is essential thatyou be tested on your core understanding of demographic concepts. You will receive a take-homefinal examination
at the end of the final class, November 10
. You will answer three essayquestions (out of a total of five options). Your answers will need to be thoughtful, concise, andinformed by the course readings and lectures. The exam must be returned by
Friday November13, 5pm.
The exam should take about 10 hours of your time.
Problem sets (20%):
Because demography is a numerical science, we must build upon a basicunderstanding of demographic measures and methods. You will receive four problem sets duringthe course. Each will account for 5% of your grade.
 
 2
Case Study Presentation (20%)
: Each student must lead one of the weekly case study discussions.This will include an organized, prepared presentation (power point optional) on the issue. Thepresentation should encompass the nature of the question; any theoretical, ideological, ormethodological debates on the issue; and the relevance of the issue for policy or internationalaffairs. The presentation must relate the case study back to all relevant background readingmaterials from the current or previous weeks. Finally, your presentation must motivate a classdiscussion of the issue. Specifically, you should take the general case study questions found withthe readings and
refine or reshape them around a specific set of policy, political, or diplomaticquestions
. You will be graded on the relevance, substance, and creativity of your presentation.Your presentations should last between 10 and 20 minutes.
(Graduate Only) Case Study Paper (20%):
Case study leaders will be asked to follow up on thecase study discussion with a brief paper on the same issue. These papers should be based on youroriginal presentation, but would incorporate additional issues raised in the discussion, suggestionsfrom your professor, and
background reading materials and lectures for all subsequent weeks
.This assignment will require attention to detail and discussion. You will be graded not only onoverall quality of presentation but on your ability to address concerns raised in the discussion andin future weeks. I hope this will be a living chronicle of your learning experience.NB: Because case studies take place throughout the quarter, the difficulty of grading for the casestudy presentation and followup paper will slide based on the timing of your case studydiscussion. In other words, if your case study occurs early in the quarter, you will be held to alower standard for your presentation but a higher standard for your paper. If your case comeslater, you will have a higher standard for your presentation but a lower standard for your paper.Your paper should be about 6 pages unless you receive prior consent to do something longer.
Course Materials
All readings are available electronically in one form or another. Readings are available throughdirect WWW links from the on-line syllabus(you must be on the Virtual Private Network). If you  bring your thumb drive to the first class I will give you a soft copy of every reading.
You will beexpected to complete all readings listed on the syllabus including case studies.
Each week you will be asked to complete all of the general background readings as well as the keypapers for the case study (those with a * before the references). Methodological background will beprovided in the lectures and in the following primer. In the schedule I refer to this as
Haupt.
 Technical Reference: Haupt, Arthur and Thomas T. Kane. 2004. Population Handbook ,5
th
edition.Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau.Those searching for accelerated methods grounding should look to the following bookPreston, Samuel H., Patrick Heuveline, and Michel Guillot. 2001.
Demography: Measuring and Modeling Population Processes
. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
 
 3
September 15: Does Population Matter?
Technical Reference: Haupt, Chapters 1- 2.
Malthus, Thomas. 1798. 
. Chapters 1-2.Reproduced byElectronic Scholarly Publishing Project, 11 pages.Engels, Frederick. 1844. Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy.First appeared in
DeutschFranzösische Jahrbücher
. Translated by Martin Milligan for the Collected Works. Transcribed bydirector@marx.org (February 1996). Excerpted by Prof. Phillip Cohen, UC-Irvine. 6 pages.Cohen, Joel. 2003. Human population: The next half century. 
Science
302:5648, 1172-1175United Nations. 1999. The World at Six Billion.UN Population Division, UN Secretariat. Scan pages 1-22 to familiarize yourself with population measures.
September 22: Population Size and Growth
 Hand out problem set #1, due September 29.
Technical Reference: Haupt, Chapter 12.
Ehrlich, Paul R. and John P. Holdren. 1971. Impact of Population Growth. 
Science
171: 1212-1217.
 Johnson, D. Gale. 2000. Population, Food, and Knowledge. 
The American Economic Review
 90(1): 1-14.
The Journal of Applied Ecology
34(6): 1325-1333.Sen, Amartya. 2003.Population: Delusion and Reality. 
 Asian Affairs
On-Line., 18 pages.
September 29: Fertility and Reproduction
Problem Set #1 due. Hand out problem set #2, due October 6.
Technical Reference: Haupt, Chapters 3.
Mason, Karen Oppenheim. 1997. Explaining Fertility Transitions. 
Demography
34(4): 443-454.Smith, Daniel Jordan. 2004. 
Population and Development Review
30(2): 221-238.
Case Study: The State and Family Planning 

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